Nobody in the NFL has a crystal ball. It’s what makes the NFL Draft so interesting. Unfortunately, it also means the Green Bay Packers occasionally miss out on a future star.
The Packers generally draft well, and it’s why their roster is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. However, it’s hard not to play the “what if?” game occasionally. With the benefit of hindsight, of course.
We look back over the past decade of Packers drafts. Here are three players they passed up on who became stars.
T.J. Watt (2017)
Still talked about to this day, the Packers’ decision to trade down in 2017 proved to be a costly one. Green Bay owned the 29th overall pick in the first round. Among their biggest needs were cornerback and edge rusher.
Had they stuck at No. 29 and picked Wisconsin hero T.J. Watt, they would’ve landed a player soon to become one of the best pass rushers in football. Watt is now a three-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler having made 49.5 sacks and 111 quarterback hits in four years. Last season, he led the NFL in sacks.
Green Bay traded down to the top of the second round, selecting Kevin King. King has been a starter in the secondary ever since and re-signed on a one-year deal this offseason.
But Watt has become a superstar and the Packers missed out.
Alvin Kamara (2017)
All’s well that ends well as the Packers ended up selecting both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams later in the 2017 draft, but not before passing up on Alvin Kamara. The Packers selected safety Josh Jones with the 61st overall pick, with Kamara going to the New Orleans Saints just five picks later. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was also on the board when the Packers picked.
Fortunately, Jones became a star and is back on a new multi-year contract. But there’s no doubt they missed on future four-time Pro Bowler Kamara, who has since been dominant for an NFC rival.
Harrison Smith (2012)
Nick Collins was one of the best safeties in the NFL, a three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler, but suffered a career-ending neck injury in 2011. Just one day before the 2012 NFL Draft, the Packers released Collins.
Replacing a player as talented as Collins was never going to be easy. The Packers ended up selecting Jerron McMillian in the fourth round but missed out on superstar Harrison Smith in the first round.
Green Bay selected linebacker Nick Perry with the 28th overall pick. One pick later, the Minnesota Vikings selected Smith, now a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro with the Vikings.
Following the 2013 season, safety became an even bigger need for the Packers and they ended up drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round in 2014.
Not only did the Packers miss out on a future star in Smith, but he ended up going to a division rival. He has five interceptions and nine pass defenses in 16 career games against Green Bay.